Curriculum

All Film Connection courses employ the mentored externship method of learning in one-on-one, hands-on sessions with a working professional filmmaker proficient in your field of study. This allows you to learn at your own pace, in real world, practical application situations, and focus on particular areas of interest to you.

Film Connection provides unique, mentor-based programs that are affordable, so you can stay in control of your finances.

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Film Connection Courses


All Film Connection courses employ the mentored externship method of learning in one-on-one, hands-on sessions with a working professional filmmaker proficient in your field of study. This allows you to learn at your own pace, in real world, practical application situations, and focus on particular areas of interest to you.

In the Film Connection for Film Production & Editing program, you will study directing, producing and screenwriting inside a real film production company in your city as you develop your movie idea with a professional filmmaker. Then, upon meeting the necessary requirements, you will be given the opportunity to fly to Los Angeles or New York and pitch your film idea to an executive who could buy or get your movie made.

Film Production & Editing Details

In the Film Connection for Cinematography program, you will learn the techniques involved in capturing a moving image and will start to develop “the eye of the DP.” The cinematographer is literally the set ‘magician.’ DPs are responsible for the technological wizardry required to get the needed shots and to shape light to achieve the director’s desired artistic effect.

Cinematography Details

Workshops

The screenwriter is the person who creates, takes, or adapts an idea and formulates a screenplay. Without the writer, there would be no movie. Period. He or she is the starting gate. He or she is the person who gets the ball rolling down the hill.
 
In the Film Connection for Screenwriting workshop, you will learn the elements that make for a “Killer Script” by developing and writing your own feature length screenplay under the direction and mentorship of a working professional screenwriter.

Screenwriting Details

In many ways the film editor is the most misunderstood of all film professionals. Often considered just a film technician, a good editor is so much more than that. He or she is also a qualified storyteller of the highest order.
 
In the Film Connection for Film Editing workshop, you will develop your knowledge of storytelling and screenplay structure as the foundational blueprint of a film. You will also develop your technical understanding of editing as an extern to a professional editor in a post-production facility.

Film Editing Details

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Meet our Mentors

Why learn from teachers when you can learn from the professionals?

Michael Van Orden Film Connection Mentor

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Michael Van Orden Film Connection Mentor

Background

Credits: Being Doug, Called to Serve, The Washing, Spit

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Albert Dabah Film Connection Mentor

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Albert Dabah Film Connection Mentor

Background

Albert has been in the video production business for thirty-three years, owning and running Simba Productions in New York City.

Clients: CNN, HBO, Apple

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Bob Kelley Film Connection Mentor

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Bob Kelley Film Connection Mentor

Background

Clients: Discovery Canada, PBS, UCDavis, Associated Press, Fox News, Blackstone Media, NBC Universal

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Marc Silber Film Connection Mentor

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Marc Silber Film Connection Mentor

Background

With a background in visual media, director Marc Silber has interviewed scores of entrepreneurs, CEOs and creative professionals over the years. His interview series has received hearty praise and has helped countless business leaders and artists tell their story.

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Craig Roessler Film Connection Mentor

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Craig Roessler Film Connection Mentor

Background

A film and television studio executive and producer for over twenty years, Craig has directly overseen, managed, and/or produced 25 films and seven network series with budgets totaling over $500 million. 

Craig is known for his project-management skills, having close working relationships with talent and directors, producing big looking, studio-quality content on tight budgets, quickly providing workable solutions for development and production issues, and completing projects on time, on budget.

As Senior Vice President of Production, Programming and Creative Affairs for MGM Television Worldwide Inc., Craig had direct oversight of all content development, and oversaw pre-production, production, post-production, while working with business & legal affairs, marketing, and promotion. His MGM product was nominated for 10 Emmy awards and numerous others including DGA, Golden Globes, PGA and SAG awards. 

He oversaw studio projects such as the series Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: Universe, Dead Like Me, and The L Word, as well as Showtime Movies Inherit the Wind, Twelve Angry Men, In the Time of the Butterflies, That Championship Season, and Rocky Marciano, which opened the Monte Carlo Film Festival. Craig has worked with a wide range of talent, from well-established actors and directors to breaking new talent. 

Craig grew up in Los Angeles and Colorado, working summers on ranches breaking and training western saddle horses. He attended Columbia University, working his way through school as an actor on NBC’s soap opera “Another World,” while learning production work skills for quick, quality content.

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Kel Thompson Film Connection Mentor

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Kel Thompson Film Connection Mentor

Background

America’s Production Company was established in 2005 by Kel Thompson who has degrees in photography & advertising from Texas State University. Kel is also a graduate of the Palm Beach Film School. Kel was first published in photography at 17 years old in TX. Kel worked for News24Houston as their first helicopter videographer, before being hired by a major event production company in Florida. Two years later he established America’s Production Company after learning the ropes in photo, video, audio and event production.

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Zef Cota Film Connection Mentor

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Zef Cota Film Connection Mentor

Background

Alphabet City Films is a film production company based in New York City, NY. We are a collective of writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, and other talented filmmakers. We have created many short films, and recently produced our first feature length film: The Trouble.

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Jim DeGroot Film Connection Mentor

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Jim DeGroot Film Connection Mentor

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Clients: Green Bay Packers, Disney, National Guard, Doritos, ABC World News, Good Morning America, St. Joseph’s Medical Centers, Homeland Security

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Eero Johnson Film Connection Mentor

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Eero Johnson Film Connection Mentor

Background

“I’m Eero Johnson. I’m a film and video producer living in Bellingham, Washington. For over ten years I’ve been creating commercials, corporate videos, web videos, sales DVD’s, music videos … whatever it takes to get your message to your audience. I have a great group of clients and I love what I do.”

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Chris Varner Film Connection Mentor

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Chris Varner Film Connection Mentor

Background

In a career spanning nearly 20 years, Chris has worked in almost every facet of video production, from lens to post. His credits include EPK work on “Sleepy Hollow”, “Under The Dome”, “The Longest Ride”, “We’re The Millers”, “Iron Man 3”, “One Tree Hill” and more.

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John Raffo Film Connection Mentor

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John Raffo Film Connection Mentor

Background

John Raffo started as a photographer in New York before turning his attention to screenwriting. Over the last twenty years he’s worked on a variety of credited and uncredited projects (including, DRAGON, THE BRUCE LEE STORYTHE RELIC, and THE INTERPRETER”). His original screenplay RENKO VEGA AND THE JENNIFER NINE appeared on the 2011 Black List. THE 7TH SWORD is his first story written directly as a graphic novel.

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Shawn Hamer Film Connection Mentor

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Shawn Hamer Film Connection Mentor

Background

17 time Emmy award winning DP/Camera Operator, Producer and Director with over 20 years of experience in the Film, Television and Audio business. Extensive professional experience for top clients across the country from Miami to Anchorage, from New York to San Francisco. International production experience in South & Central America as well as China for both documentary and commercial production. Well versed in handling both low and high budget production ($1k to $3.5m). Professional still shooter as well with full ProFoto strobe lighting and speedlight kits. Lots of contacts in the Detroit metro area and in major cities across the globe for every type and size production – full cinema production, 3D production, aerial shoots, camera car, crane/jib, etc. I also have shot, explored, camped and lived all over Michigan – I know the state EXTREMELY well, particularly it’s remotest regions.

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Sebastian Triscari Film Connection Mentor

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Sebastian Triscari Film Connection Mentor

Background

“Young people are the future of this industry. Mentorship programs like The Film Connection are the most efficient and effective ways for anyone who has a passion to gain the information and experience necessary to be successful!”

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Mitch Kaufman Film Connection Mentor

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Mitch Kaufman Film Connection Mentor

Background

A native of Atlantic Beach, Mitch Kaufmann has been offering video services to area businesses and residents since 1984. He started Atlantic Video Productions by shooting weddings, business seminars, and sporting events.

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Horacio Jones Film Connection Mentor

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Horacio Jones Film Connection Mentor

Background

Award winning director, Horacio Jones is a multi-faceted Video Producer, Director, and Editor. He has turned CinemaViva into one of the leading video production studios in San Diego. In addition to making outstanding corporate video productions, he is committed to making socially conscious and inspiring films and documentaries that bring magic into peoples lives in fun and colorful ways.

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Deen Olatunji Film Connection Mentor

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Deen Olatunji Film Connection Mentor

Background

Deen’s most recent film is “Warfare”, which was screened at the heart of Dallas and several other cities across the United States. Deen has also worked on several feature, short films and other content, which include “Kanaani” (Popular TV Series”), “The Call”, “King Sacrifice”, “Who Am I” , and “Dancing With The Docs-Texas”. (TV Series). He is currently working on his next projects “The Alarm Clock” (Short Film) and “Eze Back To School”  (Feature Film) all coming up in fall and winter 2016.

Deen believes the RRFC program is great because it’s one of the few reputable schools that teach you on the field which he states is a great way of learning.

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Rex Piano Film Connection Mentor

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Rex Piano Film Connection Mentor

Background

“The Film Connection allows aspiring writers to work with professionals.  The students not only learn theory, but practical applications to screenwriting.  I wish it was around when I was a student.” — Rex Piano, Producer/Director, Impact Earth, Fall of Hyperion, Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire, Murder Dot Com, Hope Ranch, The Month of August

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Matt Kaczkowski Film Connection Mentor

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Matt Kaczkowski Film Connection Mentor

Background

Matt Kaczkowski graduated from Winona State University with a BA in Mass Communications Broadcasting. He spent three years as a DJ and produced an award-winning radio production.  Prior to starting SilverWater Productions, Matt was an event planner and A/V services coordinator for 4 years. Matt’s passion for film and video is a catalyst for SilverWater’s success.

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Ivan Alzuro Film Connection Mentor

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Ivan Alzuro Film Connection Mentor

Background

“Unlike the local University, Film Connection sends us committed and focused students. We have turned 1 student into full-time contractor – that says it all!”

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Daniel Lir Film Connection Mentor

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Daniel Lir Film Connection Mentor

Background

Dream Team Directors is a prestigious directorial team founded by Bayou Bennett and Daniel Lir. Their company motto, “Let our dream team manifest your dream”, symbolizes the expansion and positive attention they win for their celebrity and high-profile brand clients and collaborators such as Adidas, MTV, Coldplay, P. Diddy, Smashbox Cosmetics, Atlantic Records, Chrome Hearts, Oscar De La Renta, Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe nominee Anthony Mackie, Matt Bennett of the “Big Bang Theory” and Lea Michele of Fox’s “Glee.”

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Rocco Michaluk Film Connection Mentor

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Rocco Michaluk Film Connection Mentor

Background

Michaluk has been creating award winning Film & TV productions for over 15 years. His Film Clients include Columbia Pictures, Indian PaintBrush, PBS, NBC, American Empirical Pictures and Fountainbrush Films. His Television clients include NBC, Television Academy / Emmy’s, MTV, Viacom, E! Entertainment, CBS, ABC, Travel Channel, Leftfield Pictures, PETA, and others.

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Alejandra Huerta Film Connection Mentor

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Alejandra Huerta Film Connection Mentor

Background

Alejandra Huerta specializes in On-Screen Promotions, Executive Presentation Tapes and Sizzle Reels. She started her career with Andromeda in Miami offering Production Services to MTV Latin America as an editor for on-air promotions. She then relocated to New York where she became a successful producer and editor for Viacom and NBC Universal. After her professional experience in NY she relocated to Florida where she continues to manage, produce and edit projects at Andromeda Productions.

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Joaquin Palma Film Connection Mentor

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Joaquin Palma Film Connection Mentor

Background

“The thing I admire most about the program is that it pairs you with people doing the job that you are aspiring to do. In doing that, I feel it gets rid of the “glamour” that people associate with this business, and helps them realize that it is, in fact, A JOB. It takes hard work, a lot of practice and a sincere courtesy towards one’s colleagues to get ahead and stay relevant; not that tired stereotype of the suffering artist that won’t settle for anything less than his vision of perfection! I don’t think they teach you that at traditional film schools.” — Joaquin Franco Palma

Joaquin Franco Palma was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a first-generation American. Having started his career as a production assistant, Joaquin has gone on to become an award winning writer and director of both independent features and TV; most notably, as a staff writer on the Emmy nominated HULU series, EAST LOS HIGH. Aside from writing for the screen, Joaquin is also a published author of fiction and is a youth writing volunteer for the NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND and NOSOTROS ORGANIZATION programs.

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Drew Mason Film Connection Mentor

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Drew Mason Film Connection Mentor

Background

I started getting serious about making videos during summer backpacking trips with my friends between college semesters at Central Michigan University. Shortly after graduating, I was asked to produce a local TV show. I jumped at the opportunity and never looked back. Since then, I’ve produced videos for documentaries, national ad campaigns, and commercials for multinational companies. Recently I was part of a team that produced videos for Lansing’s Silver Bells in the City, and we received an Emmy Award for special event coverage.

My introduction to the business wasn’t with videography; I was a wedding DJ for nearly 8 years. Through this experience, I discovered that weddings are not only among my favorite things to be a part of, but also to film. I love capturing the excitement, love, and energy surrounding them.

When I’m not editing videos – haha, funny joke – I like to make music. In fact, I serenaded my wife Amanda with my ukulele for our first kiss. True story! I also try to get out to the backcountry wilderness with just a backpack from time to time, especially in beautiful northern Michigan.

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David McClain Film Connection Mentor

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David McClain Film Connection Mentor

Background

Credits: Coca Cola, Google, Dateline, Travel Channel, NBC

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Demetria Kalodimos Film Connection Mentor

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Demetria Kalodimos Film Connection Mentor

Background

In 2000, Demetria established Genuine Human Productions, writing, directing, shooting and editing true stories about real people…genuine humans. Demetria Kalodimos has anchored and reported television news for more than 30 years. She’s won some of journalism’s most prestigious awards including 15 regional Emmys, 2 National Headliners and 2 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards.

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Grant Salisbury Film Connection Mentor

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Grant Salisbury Film Connection Mentor

Background

Over fifteen years post production experience in Orlando—Grant has provided video editorial, 2D & 3D animations, and motion graphics for a multitude of media clients through his post production company, GFX Creative.

Short & Long Format Video Editorial, Event & Theme Park Animations, Infomercials, Broadcast Commercials, Corporate Communications and Interactive Media for The Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, Sea World, Lockheed-Martin, AAA Insurance, 3M, Siemens, Honda, A&D Medical, Toyota, FedEx and others.

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Jae Macallan Film Connection Mentor

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Jae Macallan Film Connection Mentor

Background

Jae Macallan is the owner, producer, and lead editor for Yoyostring Creative in Seattle, WA., with satalite offices in Portland, OR and San Diego, CA.  Yoyostring produces traditional video as well as animation, 360 VR, live video switching and video mapping. 

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Ron Osborn Film Connection Mentor

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Ron Osborn Film Connection Mentor

Background

“Simply put, there is no better or more effective way to teach anything than one-on-one, mentor to student.  This is what the Film Connection does.” — Ron Osborn

A writer/producer in television for 35 years, Ron has been nominated for 7 Emmys, 3 Cable Ace Awards, and 2 Writers Guild Awards on shows like MOONLIGHTING, THE WEST WING, and the adult animated DUCKMAN.  He has written pilots for every primetime network, numerous cable networks, as well as movies like MEET JOE BLACK; and has developed feature projects with Steven Speilberg, Ron Howard, and George Lucas, among others. .

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Sam Borowski Film Connection Mentor

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Sam Borowski Film Connection Mentor

Background

“The Recording Radio and Film Connection is such an effective program, because it takes the student out of the classroom and puts them in the very field they seek to be a part of. With mentors that actually work in the student’s respective field, they get first-hand knowledge of how everything works and just what to do. I think it’s the best way to get hands-on experience and the lessons learned are very valuable. I also think that the interview process helps to match a student with a mentor that will be right for them.” – Sam Borowski

Directed and produced the feature film, Night Club starring Oscar-Winner Ernest Borgnine, Natasha Lyonne and Paul Sorvino. Wrote and produced the feature-length documentary Creature Feature: 60 Years of the Gill-Man with Oscar-Winner Benicio Del Toro and narrated by 2-time Emmy-Winner Keith David. Also directed and produced the film Maniac.

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Choose a Film Company in Your City

We provide access to vetted local film companies in over 250 cities across the country. With Film Connection, there’s no need to relocate.


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What is the Next Step?

We get it. This isn’t your normal four-year college requiring coursework not associated with your area of interest. We are a post-secondary institution or trade school that's different in its approach. Here's how you can get more info:


Request Information Externship Location Call Admissions

Titanic, The Avengers, Avatar, Roma, Juno, Lady Bird. No matter if the movie has a budget of $100 million or $10,000, each one has a story to tell and someone to tell it. At Film Connection, we want to give our externs the access to learn about the industry from professionals who are already making films, day in, day out.

We offer programs and workshops that cover every aspect of the filmmaking journey. If accepted, you will receive one-on-one mentoring from an industry professional, giving you first-hand experience in what it takes to make a career in the business.

Film Connection Directing Approach

There’s more to directing that yelling “action!” or “cut!” while on the sound stage. Of course, you already know that. But do you know about blocking, what a gaffer does, or the importance of a grip? And we’re not talking about an online definition - as a director, you’ll need to know how all of the various roles and crew position work together in the creation of a movie.

That’s the knowledge you’ll receive when enrolling in The Film Connection directing courses. Working within a professional film production company, you’ll extern directly with a filmmaking expert. At a four-year college, conventional trade school or film school, your teacher may be dealing with many different students at once.

We feel the one-on-one approach, access, opportunities and methodology of Film Connection’s directing courses are more beneficial for those who want to get started working in film. Instead of waiting for your turn to ask a question, you could be on-location helping the director refocus a feisty leading man, alter the lighting, or look over the dailies. Of course, it’s not all craft services in exotic locales. Much of the work actually happens long before the first reel of film is loaded into the camera.

The Phases of Production

Pre-production meetings are filled with collaboration between the director, the producer, location manager, and unit production manager (UPM) to create a schedule for the shoot. A film is rarely shot in sequence (from the first scene to the last). Rather, efficiency and time and availability of talent are factors taken into account and a schedule and finalized shooting script are nailed down during this phase of production.

From there, a project will advance onto “production.” During this phase, shooting starts and long days can be spent on the sound stage, back alley, or any of the many shooting locations for the film. The full crew, comprised of the following roles, begins production: Assistant Director Unit Production Manager, Director of Photography (DP or Cinematographer), Assistant Camera (AC), Gaffer, Grip, Sound Recordist, Hair & Makeup Department, and Production Assistant(s).

In post-production AKA “post,” the director gets to working with an editor to make sure their vision makes it to the screen. At this point they may also create “sizzle reels” to entice potential buyers and ultimately sell the film if it hasn’t already been optioned.

Learn Directing by Seeing and Doing (along with the bookwork)

With Film Connection, you can learn about all of the phases of production as you extern with a professional filmmaker who can explain it all to you and answer any questions you may have, all so that you can attain a real world understanding of what it takes to make a movie. From the moment it’s merely an idea until it’s sold and distributed for audiences to enjoy.

Film Connection Screenwriting Methodology

Just want to write movies? With us, you get remote one-on-one training with an experienced filmmaker who knows what it takes to get a script made and on the screen. The Film Connection screenwriting mentored-externship will give you the foundation you need to draw upon to ultimately write your Killer Script.

It starts with the classics. From a galaxy far, far away to a gin joint in western Morocco, you and your mentor will discuss what made those scripts so appealing and how reading the best will help you become a better writer. Understanding why Rocky needs an Apollo - and even the other way around - is what gives a script its life.

What do you want to write about?

Is there a book from your childhood you’ve always wanted to adapt for the big screen? Or a story about a time in your life which had a profound effect on you? The story is the backbone of a film - make it a good one. Story structure, character development, and the genre and theme you’re writing are all foundational aspects of the craft we’ll dig into in preparation for you to begin writing your own screenplay.

Outlines, treatments, and even the correct screenplay format are covered in the curriculum and lessons with your mentor, prior to diving into the first draft. By the time you start, you’ll have a good handle on what your script will look like. Just remember - it’s a first draft. There are a few more drafts coming, so don’t worry about being perfect.

Rewrites, polishing, reads, agents, and eventually selling your screenplay are some of the final steps you’ll learn in the Film Connection screenwriting courses. Even becoming a member of the Screenwriters Guild of America and when to get paid are examined. This is a complete workshop covering all aspects of writing a script.

Clearly, screenwriting is more than sitting at a desk with a keyboard, screen, and a big pot of coffee. But it doesn’t have to be as expensive as attending a four-year university, either. Film Connection screenwriting training costs a fraction of so many other writing programs and scriptwriting couses, and no, you won’t have to move to L.A., New York, or other entertainment hubs to get the education you need.

If you enroll in Film Connection directing externship, you will work with one of our professional mentors at a production facility, on-set,or on shoots. As for your schedule, that's established by you and your mentor. We do, however, ask that you commit to the schedule set since our mentors are busy working professionals who don't have time to adjust their schedules on the fly.

If you choose to study only screenwriting, you will be connect with your mentor one-on-one via online video conferencing or on the phone. Your screenwriting mentor will show you how to turn your story idea into a workable concept for a film. From there, they will advise you, read your work, and will coach you on how to go from idea to the finished draft and beyond.

It takes a lot of hard work to write a Killer Script or direct a film that makes it onto the festival circuit. But at Film Connection, we believe getting access it takes to learn the process of writing for the screen should be well within every driven person's reach. Ready to start working (and working hard) towards a career as a director or screenwriter? Apply today.

About Our Programs

Directors, producers, and screenwriters are responsible for telling a story and hiring the people to take their vision and get it on the big screen.

Cinematographers and editors help frame the scene, set the pace, capture the mood and make it all come together. Their importance to a successful film cannot be understated.

That’s why our director, producer, screenwriting, cinematography and editing programs are taught by seasoned professionals. These experts in their field will assist aspiring producers, directors, screenwriters directors of photography (DPs) and editors learn the ropes, whether it’s filming commercials, industrials, features, documentaries, television and beyond. Get mentored and attain the foothold you need to launch into a rewarding career in the film industry.

Coursework is delivered via distance education and completed at a location determined by the student. Externship locations can be up to 60 miles away from the student’s address. The externship mentor will work with each student on structuring a specific schedule, the student agrees that he/she will be available to meet with the mentor for a minimum of two sessions per week.

Film Connection provides unique, mentor-based programs that are affordable, so you can stay in control of your finances.

New! Finance your education with Climb.
Get approved in minutes with no impact to your credit score.